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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2007

Senator Wilcoxson (center) and foster parents kick off the Foster Doll project at the State Capitol.

Doll Project at State Capitol to Bring Attention to Need for Foster Parents

State Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson is well acquainted with the foster care system in Oklahoma. She and her husband, Lynden, opened their home and their hearts to a foster child whom they later adopted. Now Sen. Wilcoxson is hoping to bring attention to the need for others to do the same. Wilcoxson and the Foster Care Association of Oklahoma (F.C.A.O.) have teamed up to give the Governor, Lt. Governor and every member of the House and Senate a foster doll to care for until May.

“Each one of these dolls represents a child in Oklahoma’s foster care system,” explained Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City. “Many of them are special needs children, and many have endured more abuse and neglect than any of us can imagine. All of them desperately need a loving home.”

Following a press conference on Tuesday to kick off the event, Wilcoxson and F.C.A.O. members delivered the dolls along with a case history and certificates of honorary approval for the care of each foster doll.

Lana Freeman of Newcastle is the F.C.A.O. coordinator for the doll project. She said just as foster children cannot be left alone, neither should the foster dolls.

“It would be great to see lawmakers actually bringing these dolls with them to committee meetings and onto the floor,” Freeman said. “The more everyone participates, the more we’ll be able to get the word out about the need for more foster families.”

Wilcoxson said as of November 2006, there were 12,170 Oklahoma children in foster care, while there were only 3,888 foster homes. She noted there’s also a 26 percent foster parent turn over each year.

“It isn’t an easy thing to take on. These children need a safe, wholesome environment and their nutritional, medical and other needs must be met, along with getting them to counseling sessions, visits with birth family members and more,” Wilcoxson said. “But a loving foster family can literally save a child from a life of physical and emotional abuse.”

Throughout the coming weeks, those receiving foster dolls will receive updated case plans as well as information relating to adoption. After the dolls are collected in May, they’ll be taken to malls and stores throughout the state and displayed to help continue to raise awareness about the need for foster parents in Oklahoma.

For more information contact:
Senator Wilcoxson's Office - (405) 521-5618

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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